Monday, September 19, 2011

Battle of wills... The ultimate Tabla solo

I have decided that the tabla solos i enjoy most are the ones where the Tabal is trying to push his rhythms, his ideas of what to do next, onto me, BUT is open minded enough to bend to my demands too. This creates a battle of the wills which gives the performance bite, I guess like a good Tango show!

I hate when a tabla solo becomes so rehearsed there is no room to break free. Even if i change my moves, often when you work with a drummer for a long time and usually they do the same drum solo over and over then they will go on and play the next rhythm in the 'routine' even if you try to dance something outwith the routine. I feel caged in when that happens...

I also get frustrated when the tabal, and this especially happens when you work with a new tabal, 'makes' you dance his music even when you try to suggest other things with your dance. I take it slow... building up the suspense then they get bored or something and just charge off into something fast that really wasn't needed at that moment in the show. Then I feel robbed.

The perfect combo... a strong, but interested tabal that actually wants to make you look good too... and isn't so narrow minded to think that he knows best in it all. Of course, I could never produce the music in the way he (usuallly all musicians in Egypt are male) does, but then I know the audience and my moves and how to pull that audience into the show in a way he doesn't. It must be a team effort.

The perfect conversation... when someone is able to listen and reply intelligently to what you say and then suggest ideas to take the conversation to the next level.

The tabla solo in my opinion should be exactly that! It is the most amazing feeling when it happens...... The adrenaline is at an all time high. 'Flying by the seat of your pants'.  I hope all dancers reading this have experienced this feeling... or get to experience it at some point in their life!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Payback time

I performed last night on the Nile Pharaoh for the 1st time since before Ramadan. It felt amazing to be back on stage on the Nile again. I really did miss it. I loved the support and enjoyment and appreciation i could see in my audiences eyes... Egyptian, Arabs and 'foreigners' alike.

I met one audience member who was also from Scotland... i loved the confusion that flashed over his face... she's the Bellydancer.... talking to me...... in Egypt, from Edinburgh... It always takes a while to sink in!!!

now for my first ever voluntary attempt at 'poetry' ............

Last night's little drama;

On stage, the dance is unfurling,
the audience watching
The musicians focusing
working hard to stay together
working hard to stay with me

The magic is happening
but the dance floor fights back
payback for all the beating
from my feet
from my asaya
There's a nail sticking up out of the wood...
OH... that hurt
but no blood, deep breath.

Must avoid, MUST avoid...
try to focus on the music
without looking like the floor is winning,
It must not win
an evil, dreaded cucumber slice...
squished, pale and watery
harmless looking but treacherous
rejected from a passing plate,
designed to be my ruin,
designed to bring me down.

I step on it
I'm falling
no... no, I'm not
the floor won't get me
I swing my hip out far
then further, even more
My arms reach for the heavens
to the audience
praying these smiling powers will keep me upright
my spine is stretched, about to
then counterbalance
with a smile on my face
the audience unaware of what could have been,
a new move is created

I take a breath
I win

I go to collect that saaidi stick
Payback time....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Visa's on Arrival .....

One day you do, next day you dont. Welcome to Egypt.

The Egyptian 'government' has now " shelved plans " for new visa regulations. It will continue to be possible to buy your entry visa at the airport on arrival.

Seems they have just realised that such a regulations would have a negative impact on tourism.... you don't say!

good........... shame they didn't consider this before announcing they were going to implement it and cause chaos in an already shaky touirst industry! Better late than never!

On a different topic all together, i bought a light for the ceiling in my dance studio in 'Hotel BellyLorna' today so that from now on I can dance, and teach Saaidi without fear of having glass rain down on me from the already broken from exuberant stick twirling, light fitting!!!!

Oh and the duck lost its quack, it was melted off... and then of course was burnt alive (I'm talking about a kettle here- no animals have actually been hurt!!!) and has now been replaced with a bright shiny dairy milk purple 'duck' which is not really a duck of course however 'kettle' in Hotel Bellylorna will be forever more be referred to as the duck in memory of the ducks who have losts their lives in the honourable duty supplying bellydancers from all around the world with their morning cuppas!!! (if you are still confused about all this talk of dead ducks- please check out an old blog entry from last year! )

If you want to come and stay in Hotel Bellylorna... now that you can come and buy your visa on entry and partake of a cup of tea from the lovely new purple duck......and swing your Saaidi stick freely..... .

send me an email- 

or check out my facebook page!/pages/Hotel-BellyLorna/103205596445518

Sunday, September 11, 2011

August memories...

I had some really lovely times when i was home in UK this trip.

One of those was the Belly on the Beach day. (Thanks to the Dalriada for allowing us the use of their changing facilities and power point- not to mention the bar!)
 I invited my friends and family, students and other teachers along with their students and we had Egyptian music blasting out over the promenade and beach at Portobello, Edinburgh for the afternoon.

Here's the family....

and a fellow Scottish dancer who now lives in Egypt too, Sarannah....

and of course the lovely Eleanor Keen (also now a Cairo inhabitant!)  came up North to join us in some fun..... In this photo we are demonstrating Stacey's 'clubby book pose'. Some fabulous fife dancers are relaxing on the wall behind us enjoying the sunshine....

some of the top Scottsh dancers were there;
 Elspeth who brought along some of her students and lead a few dances....

......  Natalie....

... and Dawn.... to name but a few....

oh and the Tribal girls turned up too.............

and the girls, Isla and Mara, I used to dance with in the African dance group Afridonia way back when i first started to dance also joined in the fun with their kids too.....

 It was fabulous fun and the sun even came out to join us for most of it! It was such a luxury to be able to wear costume in public and dance outside without a single rude or sexual comment. Lots of smiles and lots of people joining in and enjoying the day. How dance is supposed to be. Friendly and fun!

and then- just in case you were thinking this couldn't have been Scotland..... it doesn't get much more Scottish than this, the dinner...... reduced and everything!!!!..............

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The latest from Cairo.....

It was a hectic time in UK... hence my lack of Blog updates... but back to Cairo and trying to get on with 'normality'.

I want to put those worried by recent news reports at rest.

Cairo is unsettled- of course, they have no actual government in power... so thing cannot really get to any sort of 'normality' until after the elcetions in November. There were 'riots' last night in Cairo which were very localised beside the ministry of interior, a police station at giza and the Israeli embassy. Those riots were by people who are angry by govermental policies and want political reform- they weren't running riots in the streets burning down peoples houses and small businesses just to get their hands on a new phone of plasma TV.

The protests yesterday in Tahrir weren't troublesome at all, and it was only a fraction of those people who went to the embassy to tear down a wall that the army put up to 'protect' the embassy- the army however stood back and watched the protesters tear it down- not trying to stop them at all..... which is strange behaviour, no? anyway- there are of course lots of conspiracys- which in this country often are later revealed to be justified. Egypt is now in a state of emergancy- which might seem news to the rest of the world- but since they have been for the entirety of Murabaks 'reign' then its of no surprise to Egyptians. What it means in practical terms for life in Egypt... we shall see. so far the police holidays have all been cancelled- which is a good thing. the police are needed on the streets.

So- at the moment- things are happening... but as yet- Cairo is working fairly normally and is safe. Most of us go about our daily business as normal and are totally unaffected by what you all see in the news. (other than of course hoping and praying for a good outcome of it all for our country- yes i feel Egypt is my home...!) Dont worry - plus if you were intending on coming to visit- please still come (just maybe avoid Tahrir square on fridays!!!)

The only thing thats of EXTREME IMPORTANCE TO TOURISTS TO EGYPT is that you will very soon be unable to buy a entry visa on arrival. Which means you MUST apply to the Egyptian embassy in your own country in advance of your visit!

 I do not know if the new visa laws will apply to trips to Sinai or not ( since sharm does seems to have different visa regulations all of its own already and also since most tourists there come via organised tour groups which will be unaffected by the new changes!) but it would be best to check! Anything can happen here- the powers that be who have made this ruling may have their eyes opened by the tourist sector ( who are very distressed about anything which could harm Egypts tourism more and withdraw the law before its even put into practice.... but my advice if you intend to travel within the next few months to Egypt is GET YOUR VISA IN ADVANCE!!! 

Come ................. Egypt is wonderful... the touristic places are all well protected.... the streets are in my opinion still safe to walk in, I chose to live here.... . the people are friendly.... they just want a better life for themselves and their children...some may have extreme ways of trying to get this- but they have always been up against extreme policies. A country needs time and patience and education to change patterns of many lifetimes..... we need to have patience, tolerance and understanding and stand by Egyptians as they work out how to get and run the Egypt they dream of.

See you in Cairo soon!!!!